Interdisciplinary at the Highest Level
Kick-off Meeting 2023
Research at the Highest Level
Training at the highest level
supported by modern technology
Interdisciplinary at the Highest Level
Research at the Highest Level
Training at the highest level

About us

The key characteristic of the BIGS DrugS program is its interdisciplinary approach. This approach is the cornerstone of an excellent and highly networked research environment and outstanding training for the participating PhD students.


  • the long and successful collaboration between scientists from the Faculties of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and Medicine
  • BIGS DrugS Principal Investigators are experts in all fields of pharma research and related fields. They create an excellent research environment and offer the best support for their PhD students
  • our collaboration partners from non-university institutions including Federal Institute
    for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) as well as “German Center for
    Neurodegenerative Diseases” (DZNE) pharma and biotech industries actively support
    our program
Scientific discussion
© V. Lannert Uni Bonn

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Böschemeyer


  • BIGS DrugS Principale Investigators are engaged in basic and applied science. The focus is on the development of innovative drugs and  advanced therapeutic approaches
  • BIGS DrugS Principal Investigators are performing research on novel pharmacological
    drug targets and new chemical and biological lead compounds as potential drug
    candidates, and develop innovative therapeutic concepts based on stem cells, RNA-
    or nanotechnology

The following diseases are in the focus of interest:

  • common diseases, e.g. related to the nervous and the cardiovascular system
  • inflammatory, infectious, oncological and metabolic/gastrointestinal disorders
  • rare and under-explored diseases

Structured Training

  • BIGS DrugS offers talented PhD students a 3-year structured training program in
    addition to their individual PhD research project
  • BIGS Drugs is part of Bonn International Graduate Schools. We collaborate with other
    Bonn Graduate Schools and the Bonn Graduate Center/ Argelander Competence
    Center. Moreover, BIGS DrugS cooperates with the Transfer Center enaCom of the
    University of Bonn (a translator and catalyst between science and stakeholders
    outside of the scientific community). Thus, BIGS DrugS can offer a wide range of scientific workshops, seminars, lectures, and talks. Soft skills workshops offered by the Bonn Graduate Center complement the program
  • BIGS DrugS offers an optimal research and training environment and an excellent
    education for a successful career entry
ACS Publication symposium
Poster prize winner © ACS

Board Members

The BIGS DrugS Board is responsible for the organization of the scientific part of the BIGS DrugS program. The board consists of four researchers: Two from each faculty, two are speakers and two are vice speakers. BIGS DrugS board members will be elected for a 3-year term by the Principal Investigators.


Prof. Pfeifer
© Johann Saba UKB

Prof. Dr. Alexander Pfeifer

Institute of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Biomedical Center

Faculty of Medicine

Christa Müller
© C. Müller

Prof. Dr. Christa E. Müller

Institute of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical & Medicinal Chemistry

Faculty of Mathematics & Natural Sciences

   Vice Speaker

Foto Sasse 11_22 crop2.jpg
© P. Sasse

Prof. Dr. Philipp Sasse

Institute of Physiology I

Faculty of Medicine

Prof. Hansen
© Uni Bonn

Prof. Dr. Finn Hansen

Institute of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical & Cell Biological Chemistry

Faculty of Mathematics & Natural Sciences


Members of the Faculty of Mathematics & Natural Sciences


Principal Iinvestigators


Members of the Faculty of Medicine

Advisory Board

The Advisory Board provides recommendations and comments on the scientific and strategic development of the training program. The advisory board members are from academia, industry or health administration/consulting. Current members of the Advisory Board:

Dr Nils Burkhardt
© Bayer AG

Dr. Nils Burkhardt

Vice President, Head, Lead Discovery Wuppertal Bayer AG, Bayer Pharmaceutical, Germany

Prof. Dr. Verena  Dirsch
© Verena Dirsch

Prof. Dr. Verena Dirsch

Vice head of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Vienna, Austria

© S. Laufer

Prof. Dr. Stefan A. Laufer

Chairman for Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Head Medicinal Chemistry, Department Pharmacy & Biochemistry, University of Tuebingen, Germany

© Lead Discovery Center GmbH

Dr. Peter Nussbaumer

Managing Director & Head of Medicinal Chemistry, Lead Discovery Center GmbH, Dortmund, Germany

Andreas Wagener
© Asahi Kasei

Dr. Andreas Wagener

Business Development Manager Pharma, Asahi Kasei Europe GmbH, Düsseldorf, Germany

Advisory Board
f.l.t.r.: Prof. Müller (Speaker BIGS DrugS) Prof. Laufer, Prof. Dirsch, Dr. Nussbaumer, Prof. Pfeifer (Speaker BIGS DrugS) Dr. Wagener, Dr. Burkhardt © D. Müssemeier

Advisory Board meeting  2023

Upon the invitation of BIGS DrugS speakers Prof. Alexander Pfeifer and Prof. Christa E. Müller the Advisory Board met in Bonn.


BIGS DrugS is well connected. Our current partners in academia and industry:

Logo PZB

Pharma Center Bonn (PZB)

PZB scientists are active in drug discovery and development, as well as research into new targeted therapies. In order to structure, expand and improve the training of PhD students in the field of drug discovery and related fields, the PZB has established the BIGS DrugS at the University of Bonn.

© Uni Bonn/ D.Müssemeier

Bonn International Graduate Schools (BIGS)

BIGS provides a framework for all structured graduate programs and offers support for organizational aspects and cooperation between the different graduate schools.

© TüCAD2

Tuebingen Center for Academic Drug Disovery (TüCAD2)

As part of platform one, TüCAD2 is part of Eberhard Karls University's Excellence Strategy. TüCAD2 was founded to facilitate drug development and research. TüCAD2 organizes a. o. the Lecture Series TüCAD2. BIGS DrugS PhD students can participate in.

Logo bayer
© Bayer

Bayer AG

Bayer Pharmaceuticals enables BIGS DrugS PhD students to visit the Wuppertal site. The PhD students can gain insights into industrial drug discovery.

Bayer AG annually awards three prizes for outstanding PhD theses in the field of life sciences in cooperation with the PZB and the LIMES Institute.

Coordination Office

Please contact us if you have questions, suggestions or comments about the BIGS DrugS program or the application procedure, preferably by email. We are happy to schedule a phone call, zoom or personal meeting.

Avatar Fiene

Dr. rer. nat. Amelie Fiene

Avatar Müssemeier

Dorothee Müssemeier

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